Discover the story of sandalwood in Hawaii at Lyman Museum

  • Courtesy photo An indigenous sandalwood tree in Hawaii.

The largest forests of sandalwood on the planet once grew in the Hawaiian Islands.

In what’s been called one of the darkest chapters in Hawaii’s history, the sandalwood trade of the early 1800s rendered this valuable commodity “commercially extinct” and left the people and landscapes of the islands forever changed.


Trade in this precious wood plunged the monarchy into debt and the people into virtual slavery against a background of cultural and environmental collapse. Increasing global demand today means Hawaiian sandalwood — and sandalwood worldwide — faces renewed threats.

Biologist John Stallman explores the past, present and future of sandalwood in Hawaii with a discussion about the ecology, cultural significance and this priceless resource on two occasions at the Lyman Museum in downtown Hilo — from 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, July 22, and again from 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23.

These presentations are part of the museum’s Patricia E. Saigo Public Program series. Admission is free to museum members and $3 for non-member.


The museum is located at 276 Haili St.

For more information, call 935-5021 or visit

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